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OTRS Optimizes Practices Allowing Employees To Focus On Their Core Tasks And Increase Productivity

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Below is our recent interview with Christopher Kuhn, COO at OTRS:

Christopher Kuhn

Q: Tell me about OTRS. What is it and who uses it?

A: OTRS is service management software that optimizes practices allowing employees to focus on their core tasks and increase productivity. It’s mainly used by service teams of all types to better structure communication and support, both internally and in dealing with customers. It offers a wide range of useful components to businesses of all sizes and in all industries, from ticketing and CMDB to service catalogue, automation and service orchestration.

More than 170,000 companies worldwide use OTRS, including over 40 percent of the DAX 30 companies and customers like Porsche and Siemens.

Q: It seems there are a lot of competitors in that space. What sets OTRS apart?

A: When we talk to potential customers, there are two “big ticket” items that they have a really hard time finding – a modern U/X and the right kind of flexibility. I believe that these are where OTRS sets itself apart.

We just invested more than 3 million dollars in development for our latest release. OTRS 7 launched with an entirely-refreshed modern self-service portal. It’s completely customizable to a customer’s needs: they can fully tailor the look & feel, as well as the content, to best reach their users. The same principles are being applied to the modernized agent interface that will launch in Q4/2019.

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Q: And, you mentioned flexibility as a differentiator too?

A: Yes, people get frustrated with how long service management systems take to roll out and how challenging it is to make changes to their systems. At OTRS, we come out way ahead here.

Compared to competitors, we get teams up and running fast!

Oftentimes, competitor rollouts can take up to two years; at OTRS, we deliver projects in a fraction of the time due to our agile implementation approach. Once underway, our solution can be fully-managed, meaning that we’re behind-the-scenes at all times to keep operations simple and reliable. We’ve got a great team of customer success consultants who work hand-in-hand with our customers to get processes built out, systems customized, changes facilitated quickly, and to provide on-going service. Plus, because of the generic interface and XSLT mapping module, it’s very easy to integrate OTRS with other systems, like, SAP or SalesForce, and many other enterprise softwares.

We’ve really been able to put all the pieces in place to reduce that initial learning curve and give teams the freedom to customize their OTRS Instance faster and more easily when necessary.

Q: Recently, we’ve been seeing a lot of systems enter the market with a base price that seems appealing; however, what we hear is that businesses who opt for these solutions then struggle to scale effectively because the features they need later on increase their costs disproportionately. How does OTRS address this balancing act?

A: We know that customers want clear pricing from the start that includes the features and add-ons they need to be successful. So, at OTRS, we talk with our customers before we even offer a quote to learn about the number of agents and how the system will be used. We want to make sure that they land on a solution that is a good fit for their needs both today and as they grow.

And, of course, we have pricing options that are affordable for budgets of all sizes – from 2 to 5000 service agents.

Q: Talk to me about the trend for businesses to move to the cloud. Is this shift impacting system reliability and speed?

A: I have heard that in some cases it is; however, OTRS strives for 24/7 availability in all areas – hardware, software and personnel.OTRS runs on dedicated premium servers (either in Germany or locally) with parts on-hand at all times to minimize any hardware disruption. Our customer solution team is comprised of internal personnel, as opposed to being outsourced, so they are knowledgeable and ready to tackle any question swiftly.

Q: What about the security issues when people start moving to the cloud?

A: Obviously, companies should do their due diligence when working with cloud-based service providers: ask questions about their processes and security measures.

From the OTRS perspective, data privacy and protection have always been highly important to us. We’re based out of Germany, which makes us beholden to GDPR, so the fully-managed OTRS Environment complies with GDPR requirements. Our data centers are all ISO/IEC 27001-certified too.

Our customers can trust that the data we process and control on their behalf is safe – even the German government trusts us.

And, of course, for customers who are not ready to move to the cloud or are strapped by compliance concerns, we continue to offer an On-Premise option too.

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Q: Looking to the future, there’s a lot of buzz about enterprise service management these days. How well-positioned is OTRS to respond to this trend?

A: Enterprise service management is all about expanding the concepts of knowledge management and practices beyond the IT environment. Going back to what we talked about with flexibility, OTRS is perfectly suited to support businesses in this. It can be customized to incorporate data from external systems. Its process automation let’s teams design around nearly any scenario imaginable and modify these whenever necessary. So, it’s not limited strictly to use by IT departments – really any service team, like marketing, operations or HR, that needs to better organize communication and processes would benefit from OTRS.

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